In an era of media outrage and fake news, Lurie College is proud to have faculty members like Ellen Middaugh (@emiddaugh) who are making significant contributions in the field of civic media literacy. Ellen recently published the article “More Than Just Facts: Promoting Civic Media Literacy in the Era of Outrage” in the Peabody Journal of Education. You can read the abstract below and access the article in its entirety here.
Amid rising concerns about “fake news,” efforts have emerged to explain the spread and impact of misinformation on youth civic engagement. These efforts have focused primarily on the role of social media in exposing youth to factually inaccurate civic information and the factors that influence the ability to discern the accuracy of such information. A less explored aspect has been the impact of the rise of“outrage language,” defined as language that evokes strong emotional responses (e.g., fear, anger, disgust) that communications scholars have documented as playing a larger role in political discourse over the past few decades (Berry & Sobieraj,2014). This article draws on three recent studies of digital media and youth civic engagement to discuss (a) the role of participatory media in exposing youth to outrage language in civic discourse, (b) the challenges of balancing attention to the emotional and factual elements when participating in online civic discourse, and (c) how the development of online counterpublics through high school classrooms can help students create models of productive online discourse. The article concludes with suggestions for future research and educational interventions that address the challenges associated with outrage language.